In Maine, a group of Native and non-Native leaders came together to address the abuses suffered by Native children in the child welfare system.

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Independent Lens
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Adam Mazo

Adam Mazo is the co-director and a producer of Dawnland and First Light (short doc, Camden, 2015). His hour-long film Coexist focuses on a government experiment in forced reconciliation after genocide in Rwanda. It aired on public television and WORLD Channel in 2014. He co-founded and leads the Upstander Project. Since 2009 the organization has been Show more making films and learning resources, and leading teacher workshops to help people move toward being upstanders. Mazo has been a television news and documentary journalist for nearly two decades, with work appearing on major broadcast outlets. He is originally from Minnesota, graduated from the University of Florida, and now lives in Boston with his family. Show less

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Ben Pender-Cudlip

Ben Pender-Cudlip is the co-director and cinematographer of Dawnland. He is the director and photographer of over a dozen short documentary films, including the award-winning First Light(2015) with Adam Mazo. Together on Dawnland, they are Points North Fellows and Good Pitch alumni. Ben is also the winner of the Salem Film Festival’s Doc-a-chusetts Show more Pitch with his new film, Tethys, a feature documentary in production about artist Bob Schuler’s 30-year quest to bury his art at the bottom of the sea.  Ben freelances as a non-fiction cinematographer, with clients including the New York Times, Harvard University, PBS Frontline. He contributes regularly to independent documentaries, shooting in Boston and all over the world. He lives in Boston and graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Show less

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The Film

Native American children are more than twice as likely as non-Native children to be taken from their families and put into foster care. In Maine, a group of Native and non-Native leaders came together to acknowledge and address the abuses suffered by Native children in the hands of the child welfare system. Dawnland is the story of the historic Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and illuminates the ongoing crisis of indigenous child removal.